In The News
Free Range Parenting: Is Unsupervised Play The Way To Go?
We’ve all heard the term “helicopter parents”, which refers to those parents constantly revolving around their children. But have you heard of “free range parenting” – the idea of letting your kids play without any supervision at all?
One NYC mom wants to make it more mainstream for parents to just let their children play without any parental influence. Lenore Skenazy is advocating the “free play” movement by starting a new after school program that costs $350 and includes parents dropping their kids off in Central Park to play by themselves.
With no parents. No supervision. No structure.
Skenazy plans to sit at a coffee shop a block away from the park with a cell phone in case of an emergency.
Does that sound crazy to you? It sounds that way to me. I understand the idea of letting children play to develop social skills, gain confidence, and encourage curiosity, but we, as parents, also need to watch out for their safety. Skenazy argues that Central Park is actually very safe since crime is lower than in previous decades. However, regardless of how safe a park or neighborhood is, does it make sense to have an 8-year-old child wander unsupervised?
What happened to taking your kids to the park, sitting on a bench with a book, your phone, or tablet, and just letting them play? You are still close enough to keep your eye on them and make sure they are safe from predators or other hazards, but you are also letting them have the freedom to explore. Kids need boundaries, guidelines, and the knowledge that their parents are watching out for their best interest. I agree with Skenazy that kids need time to play and “be kids”. I also agree that parents need to encourage more outdoor activity and social interactions. But this idea of no supervision is in my opinion asinine.
What do you think? Would you pay to have your kids play unsupervised or is this a recipe for disaster?